I’m bored with posting Saturday song titles on this feature. Our readers are surely clever enough to figure out that it’s a Saturday feature without my being so damn literal. I do, however, like having a different weekly theme song.
I have been unhealthily obsessed with the new Waterboys album Modern Blues since seeing them at Tipitina’s a few weeks back. The album is Mike Scott’s ode to American music and features Brother Paul Brown out of Nashville by way of Memphis on the Hammond B3 organ.
Long Strange Golden Road is inspired by Mike Scott’s fascination with Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. I’ve long referred to Scott as a lyricist who never uses one word when five are available. In addition to the beat generation lyrics, the song has a John Hiatt vibe, always a good thing:
More whimsy and shit after the break.
Hanging Out With The Beach Boys: Veteran music scribe Richard Goldstein has written a memoir of his rock misadventures in the Sixties, and Salon has published an excerpt dealing with the time Goldstein hung out with the Brian and Dennis Wilson but in the desert, not on the beach. Holy mixed messages, Batman.
It’s Greek To Me: As loath as I am to link to Politico, their European edition has a fascinating piece by David Patrikarakos positing something that’s been obvious to me forever: The Greeks Are Not Western. Despite all the cliches about being the “cradle of democracy,” Greece was cut off from Europe for over 350 years, which makes it a fascinating hybrid of the Middle East and Europe. Why do you think they eat baklava instead of cannolis?
Speaking of Greece’s European side, the only good thing about having a series of German kings is that good beer came to Athens long before it did to most places. It’s a welcome relief from ouzo and retsina, two Greek things I dislike. The latter because it tastes like bong juice and the former because I over-indulged on it many moons ago in the Plaka. The mere thought of Ouzo gets my stomach churning.
Eric Foner On Slavery and Freedom in New York City: Professor Foner wrote the definitive history of Reconstruction in 1988. His latest work is about the Underground Railroad. Longreads has published a fabulous excerpt dealing with slavery, New York style.
Sports Malakatude: ESPN decided to give epic jerk and black conservative, Jason Whitlock a site of his own. The idea was for it to be a “black grantland” modeled after Bill Simmons’ successful site. Things haven’t gone as planned, partially because past malaka of the week Whitlock is a colossal dick with limited people skils. Did I say limited? I meant none.
Dahlia Lithwick: There’s been a lot of news out of the Supreme Court this week, so I thought I’d recommend my favorite Court chronicler, Dahlia Lithwick of Slate. She’s a lawyer who can write about the law in a way that makes it come alive, which is rare among members of the bar. I’ve always liked that phrase, it makes them sound jollier than they are.
Saturday Standards: This week’s classic album is Anita O’Day’s Pick Yourself Up from 1956. Ms. O’Day cut her teeth singing for the Gene Krupa Band and she always knew that it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing: